Sports

Chance at redemption

Seaton eager to shine for Jamaica senior team

BY IAN BURNETT
Sport Editor

Friday, October 06, 2017

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — The 19 players here in Saudi Arabia are extremely happy to be donning the Jamaican colours in a friendly game against the hosts tomorrow night.

But one more so than the others, and he's Michael Joseph Arantes Seaton.

The precocious 21-year-old Spanish Town native had seemed destined for a great professional career, having signed for DC United in the American Major League Soccer on January 13, 2013, months before he celebrated his 17th birthday.

By November of the same, then Reggae Boyz head coach, German Winfried Schaefer, gave the youngster his first of his 13 senior caps, including two goals to boot.

But since then Seaton's professional career has been nothing but topsy-turvy, which has affected his international career as well, as he was sidelined from the national set-up for the past two years as he tried to sort himself out at the club level.

In under five years, Seaton, a robust six-footer who plays as a striker, has represented no less than eight clubs, four of which were on loan, in three countries — the US, Sweden and now in Israel.

Add to that the fact that he trained with the Serie A's Internazionale of Italy during January 2014.

“My reaction to being called up for the first time since 2015 … to me it's not shocking and I'm proud, of course, to put on the shirt for the country, but I'm not shocked. I am just ready to play and give my all for my country as I've done before and show them that I'm a more mature guy,” Seaton told the Jamaica Observer here at the team's Casablanca Grand Hotels and Suites.

He added: “And I think the two years that I have not been called up, I think that is a blessing because that gave me room to grow as a player and as a person so that I can bring that to the national team and show them that I'm at a different level than I was two years ago.”

After signing for DC United, Seaton only managed five appearances with no goals and was quickly loaned out to Richmond Kickers in the lower US league, where he registered 23 appearances and scored eight goals.

By 2015 he was loaned to Orebro SK in Sweden where he failed to hit the target in his four appearances. By August he was traded to the Portland Timbers, where he was loaned to their number two team. There he hit the target once in five tries.

Before he knew it he was in Israel by July 2016 at Hapoel Ramat Gan, where he struck the back of the nets on six occasions in his 17 games.

He had looked set to finally take off, but as had happened before, his apparent impatience got the better of him and he was loaned out to Hapoel Tel Aviv where his playing time was cut drastically, having just a solitary appearance.

There were the regrets and the disappointments, but now he's at second-division club Maccabi Ahi Nazareth, where he hopes to turn his professional football fortunes around.

“Israel is very good. This is the second team in Israel, and I would say third, because I went on loan after I was with Hapoel Ramat Gan in my first season. The goal was to stay a year in Israel… I did exceptionally well leading up to January.

“I got trigger-fingered, meaning that I had done well and a lot of buzz was going on and teams from the top clubs in the division wanted me and I think my camp just made a poor choice; and me also, as a kid not really jumping up and looking at things and say this is a good idea if I stay here and finish the season… my camp just made a poor judgement going to Hapoel Tel Aviv… I just thought if I had done well there [then] I could move on and excel. It went sideways; they didn't give me a lot of playing time even though I think I deserved it,” he reflected.

“It's cool, I took that on the chin and will grow again. I left there and I went to Maccabi Ahi Nazareth. The coach saw me from last year and he wanted me and he contacted me, and I took that challenge in going there and the team is very good. It is one of the best teams now in the second division trying to go back up to the first division.

“I'm enjoying it. It's different and from the outside when you hear Israel, you don't think much, but when you actually go there you are like 'this is actually a different class, it's pretty good',” he ended.

So though he might carry the burdensome name of Arantes, after Brazilian football icon. Pele, Michael Seaton is hoping that it is never too late for a shower of rain.

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